Editor’s note: On Tuesday, economic development group NC IDEA picked six recipients to share among $300,000 in its latest round of non-dilutive grants for startups. Here’s a profile of SeaChange as reported by ExitEvent Editor Laura Baverman.

DURHAM, N.C. – Dipak Mahato is determined to solve one of the world’s biggest challenges, and as affordably, efficiently and eco-friendly as possible. 

The former biopharma researcher left a job at the animal health company Zoetis in 2014 to pursue a passion to create a solution to the world’s water crisis. He had an idea, to create a water purification and desalination system that turns salt water into a mist that can be pulled through a separator to remove the brine and then recompressed into clean water that can be used.

It would use half the energy of traditional methods and require a much smaller and less expensive machine. It also reserves the byproduct, an environmentally-damaging brine, rather than injecting it back into the Earth, a regular practice estimated to cost $150 billion and cause earthquakes.

Mahato won a University of Texas Energy Institute Startup Competition, which came with $15,000 to prove his idea valid. He built a mobile prototype over the summer, while participating in Groundwork Labs. And then he took part in the Citrix Accelerators Raleigh Innovators Program, which matched him with investor-advisors from the Cherokee-McDonough Challenge. There, he settled on an industry focus—oil and gas—and lined up some early customers for pilot projects.
With the NC IDEA funds, he hopes to implement at least five pilots next year. Funds are required to modify the existing system to meet the needs of oil and gas companies, as well as perform business development work.

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